Hey ICL fans. Today we’re chatting with Loic Alix-Brown, co-founder of Flick. Flick is an all-in-one Instagram scheduling, hashtag, and analytics tool. The journey of Flick is quite interesting as the initial MVP was created in two weeks and 2 weeks later they had 200 paying customers. If you think that is impressive, wait till you hear what the platform can do from a hashtag standpoint.
If you’re wanting to elevate your online presence especially with the use of hashtags, this is the episode for you. Let’s dive in.
- 0:10 – why was there a need for Flick?
- 1:40 – launched MVP in 2 weeks and two weeks later had 200 paying customers
- 2:27 – what do customers find so exciting about the Flick platform
- 4:30 – Instagram provides very little insights on hashtags
- 5:55 – how Flick was created
- 8:04 – how analytics helps improve the content ideation process
- 10:25 – how Loic managed 15+ social accounts when working at an agency
- 12:28 – first thing you do when you sign up for Flick
- 14:45 – average additional reach that someone can expect from using hashtags the smart way
- 17:23 – the one hire that was instrumental for the company
- 20:25 – process for gathering customer feedback
- 21:49 – the time Loic incorrectly sent a mass email to the entire database and got 300 calls booked in the next 6 weeks
- 24:35 – the roadmap, TikTok is coming
- 26:00 – Shakira
- 26:45 – a funny reason Flick would go seek an additional $100M investment
- 27:45 – a funny phobia Loic has
You're listening to innovators can laugh, the fun startup podcast. Welcome to the show on your host, Eric notcher and on innovators can laugh. We investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the most innovative lines in the startup. Seeing here in Europe. My goal is to turn my guest wisdom to actionable advice that you can use to grow your business.
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Hey, ICL fans today, we're chatting with Roy Ale's brown co-founder of flick. Flick is an all in one Instagram scheduling hashtag and analytics tool. The journey to flick is quite interesting as the initial MVP was created in just two weeks. And just two weeks later, after that, they had 200 paying customers.
If you think that is impressive. Wait till you hear what the platform can do. It's for you from a hashtag standpoint, if you're wanting to elevate your online presence, especially with the use of hashtags, this is the episode for you. Let's. All right, Lloyd. How you doing today? Yeah, I'm doing great. Thanks.
How about yourself? I'm pretty good. I'm pretty good. I wanna jump right into flick here because it's this all in one Instagram scheduling, hashtag and analytics platform. How did you discover that there was a need for such a product? Yeah, a really good question. So. We actually started off as an agency and I, myself had worked in the space for a very long time.
And before, even before the agency was founded as just as a sort of freelancer, I was managing up to 2013 Instagram accounts for clients. And when you do that, you sort of become familiar with the pain points of a lot of people because you're experiencing them yourself. So when we, when we started working in a more structured way within the, within an agency, we want one day, one of our clients actually asked us, well, do you have anything to help us with hashtags?
And what's important to know is our agency was very much service based, but we still had a tech background. We used, we used some machine learning algorithms to help us pick out the best influencers for, for particular campaigns, for, for our clients and our technical found decided that, you know, it'd be a good idea to to, to put together an MVP for, for this client so that they could enter a keyword and it would output sort of a bubble graph of.
Relevant hashtags that they could use. And when he showed us that on Monday, I was like, that's something a lot of people are gonna want. And two weeks later we launched our MVP. And two weeks after that we had 200 or 300 paying users. And the rest is history. Really, a few months after that, we decided to, to stop working on the agency.
We, we felt that agencies are very high, overhead costs. And we were really struggling to scale. So we just went full into SAS, pivoted the business, and really the, from, from that day onwards, we've just been growing it bit by bit. Okay. Tell me, because I use hashtags and the thing is, is that I just write in a hashtag that I think is.
You know, that that's very popular for whatever topic, right. If I'm writing about podcasting, I'll use hashtag podcasting or whatever, right. What is it that your platform, the insights that people are able to pull, why did people find it so valuable and exciting? Yeah. So, so there's two, two key things. So firstly not all hashtags, the topic are the same.
And what I mean by that is when you're making a post on Instagram, it's really important to have the most relevant hashtags you possibly can. To the individual post you're making. So it's okay to have, you know, some more general ones like this might be a podcast. So you might include the hashtag podcast in it, but you might want some more relevant ones that qualify that, you know, what type of podcast is and the topics you were talking about within the podcast.
So that's the first thing, and it's very hard to. Very time consuming to do that manually. The on top of that hashtags are very much like SEO. So if you are a brand new website on Google and you are in a particular topic, it's really hard for you, almost impossible for you to rank on the most popular keywords on that topic.
Right? So you, when you first started a podcast, it'd be very hard for you. To show up on the first page for the keyword podcast on, on Google, right there. There's so much competition. It's really hard to do that. But if you were to do that, you'd get a lot of traffic now, hashtags work in the same way. If you're a smaller account or an account that has less engagement, it's really hard for you to perform well on hashtags that have a lot of competition on them.
Now, if you perform well, you'll get a lot of traffic, but. Very unlikely that you will. So we help our users not only find really relevant hashtags, but hashtags that are more suited for, for their account size and, and, and the level of competition that they have a, a higher chance to compete at. And then the second big thing is the fact that Instagram provide very little insights on which hashtags are performing.
So, so, so what tends to happen is you can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram and Instagram will tell. How many impressions you, those hashtags have generated as a group now mm-hmm, , it's impossible to actually know from those, from those insights, from those native insights, which hashtags within those 30 hashtags actually contributed to you reaching more people.
Right? So, so out of those 30, you might have. 10 or 15 that didn't contribute at all. And then you might have had three or four that contributed the most. And that's really where we innovated in that particular niche. And in that space, we, we actually provide and track the, the performance of hashtags on an individual level.
So when your post does well, we are able to tell you, these are the exact hashtags that. That contributed to your post. Well, so you can optimize that strategy over time and understand the topics where you perform the best at and, and the individual hashtags that, where you performed really well and the ones you don't perform well on.
So you can prune those and, and stop using them. Okay. So obviously you created MVP became very popular. I think you said you had like gumbos 20, maybe even more. I think maybe even more than 20, you know, customers right off the bat. Right. What was. That that made you decide, let me drop what I'm doing at the ad agency and go create this business with my business partner.
Like how did you guys get that off the ground? Did you have to bootstrap it with your own money? Can you just kind of shed some more light on this? Yeah, absolutely. So, so actually the, so I was working at this agency and there, there were three founders at the time at the agency and two of those founders are now my co-founders in flick.
So what happened. The, the agency two out, three of those founders stayed on and decided to pivot. And, and we sort of it's the same business entity, but what happened is I, I basically became a founder when we, when we pivoted towards software. And and as a three, the agency kept running a little bit for, for a few months, but really what happened is we got to.
We were profitable within a few weeks. And what that meant is by month two or three, we were doing around, we had 8,000 in Mr. And that was enough for a small team of three to just go, right. We're gonna do this full time and we're gonna bootstrap it from there. And then, and then bit by bit the, the business grew, our offering grew and, and we were able to, to scale our revenue and our team.
And, and today there's, there's. I think there's 23 of us now and the team working with flick on flick. Yeah. Wow. Wow. What's the projected revenue for 2022. So in 2022. So we work in pounds, but in dollars that will, we're gonna be at around plus or minus a hundred K around 3 million in revenue.
Okay. All right. That's exciting growth. So, okay. So I'm trying to get a, an understanding here. What is your take on creators who use analytics? Versus those who dot because I'm starting to feel like I'm missing. On a lot here, not looking at some of the data that platforms like yours provides that can give me some insights on better hashtags that I could be doing just to do things smarter.
So creators, I guess, is there's two buckets, those that are using analytics and those that aren't, what's the big difference here? Yeah, it's a good question. I. From what I've seen. And that there's two really key key elements to, to this answer. And the first is using analytics in general, creators are, don't have much time.
And, and that's mainly because they're so focused on, on creating the content, which makes total sense, right? Because that is their bread and butter, but. Being a creator. It's almost like running your own business entirely on yourselves. You're wearing so many hats and and finding time is really hard.
And time is your most valuable resource. So what tends to happen from, from my, in my opinion, is some creators. Just take that and go. I don't have time to look at the analytics. I don't, I need to focus on content creation. I need to focus on, on, you know, increasing revenue and all that. That makes total sense, but where it lets them down is if you were to spend just a little bit of time, even, even a couple hours a month, looking at the aggregated analytics, rather than looking at your analytics religiously after every post.
Right? If you look at the aggregated analytics, you're gonna be able to get, you're gonna be able to get some insight and understand some trends that will inform your content strategy. And, and that will. Make the time you spent on your content more valuable in terms of, in terms of reaching your end goals, which is you know, either increasing your following, reaching more people or increasing your revenue through, through, through your following.
So, so it's really just about understanding that. Even just two or three hours a month, just looking at the aggregate data will save you a lot of time and money going forward because you'll, you'll, you'll, you'll gain a better understanding of what is working and what's not working. And very often it will help you come up with ideas for future content.
And I know from, from people I talked to that. Ideation is one of the longest processes in, in or, or most biggest time sync for content creators is, is trying to ideate what they wanna do for the next month or whatever. So yeah. Analytics can help you inform all of those things. Absolutely. Okay. Well, cool.
Now you said something when we started talking that you were managing like 15 maybe even more different accounts for different clients, like through social media. How did you not lose your mind? Lloyd? I can't even manage my account. and it's one how were you doing this? Yeah, like strategies that you're doing to save time here and, and, and try to cover all these.
So it, it was, it was a, it was a very stressful time. I was also at university at the time, so, so I wasn't even doing this full time. And it, it was, I think to be honest at the time, it was just total chaos. I don't think there was too much too much time for me to pause and think, which in retrospect, would've been a very good idea to pause.
Think for some process processes into place. I think I automated as much as I could, so I would schedule. The content out for certain, for certain accounts where I could and when I could, and then I would have, I would have sort of batch sessions where on the weekend I might say, okay, for the next three or four hours, I'm gonna spend time finding or creating content for all of these accounts and then I'd be good for the next week or so.
So the key really was that during the week, the only thing I'd be doing is. Executing on the posts that had already been thought out and done through the weekend and, and sort of engaging and replying to comments throughout the week. So that was, that was really the key thing. I think throughout that process and doing that the most time consuming thing, other than finding the content or creating it was was the hashtags doing hashtag research for every single one of those posts and each and each, you know, some of these accounts might post a couple times a day That meant, you know, finding so many new hashtags.
I had spreadsheets upon spreadsheets of hashtags in my, in my Google sheets. And I think that definitely scarred me to the point where I decided to spend three years later in my life building a building a solution for that problem. So, yeah. okay. So in the topic of hashtags, if somebody were to come in and flick and create an account, like, what do you recommend is the first thing that they do?
They're, they're just, they wanna test it out for free. And what do they do? What should first thing you need to do is you need to link your Instagram account to, to flick and you do that through, through Instagram's API. And what that will allow us to do is we will instantly start tracking. Your performance on all the hashtags you use going forward and we'll be able to provide you with analytics.
So that's the first thing. The, the second thing you should start doing is look at your existing content and look at the content that you are. You've planned to post in the next few weeks and understand the sort of pillars or the topics that, that you're really focusing on. And just start playing around with a tool and enter those broad topics into our search engine and start sort of discovering all the different suggestions that.
We'll make for you and bit by bit, you can start refining those and diving into more refined results to, to, to, to. Hashtags that are relevant for a particular topic. The beauty about flick is that once you've done that once and you store, you can save those hashtags within flick. So let's say I've start brand new on flick.
I've connected my account. I know I have a post about, I don't know, lake fishing. So, so I'm going fishing on a lake and I've got loads of my I've been fishing on a lake. I've got loads of content around that. I might spend half an hour finding hashtags that are relevant to that. I can put those into a folder and flip.
And from that point onwards every week, flick. Recommend new hashtags that are relevant to that topic straight into that folder. So you actually need to lift a finger from that point onwards and, and we'll be able to, to take into account your account size, take into account the hashtags you've already put into that collection.
We'll be able to, to, to suggest new hashtags for you to add into that. So that's really where the time saving element comes into play. It's when you sort of let flick do the work for you, and once you've done that initial setup work, all right, this sounds awesome. I I'm definitely gonna try this. I wanna work a lot smart.
And it seems like data, you know, the analytics is where it's at here. What is the average lift and reach that maybe somebody could expect, like a creator could expect from using your tool? Being smarter about the hashtag research and, and start using the hashtags that were suggested, like, is there like an average.
Additional reach that somebody could expect. Sure. Yeah. So, so hashtags, as I said are very much like SEO, which means that the more you do you use them and the more you do it and the longer you do it, the better results you're gonna get from it. So when starting out, you really shouldn't expect to see much the first period.
Is very much about just collecting as much data and knowledge as you can in, in terms of what's working, what type of content is working or what type of hashtags and where your audience is most engaged mm-hmm and what hashtags they're most engaged from that point onwards. And once you've set, set that initial sort of process up for creator with say, you know, between a thousand to 5,000 followers, they can expect anywhere from, from, you know, an extra thousand to all the way up.
10 15,000 extra reach on posts where hashtags perform well or, or where the post performs well on the hashtags. So sometimes we see our creators get 80% of their reach through hashtags. Sometimes it's 10%. It, it, it's not, it's not something that's gonna be super stable all the time, but you can expect anywhere from 10 to 80% of your reach to come through hashtags once you've sort of optimized your strategy.
Okay. Is there hashtag crossover? Because right now the tool is. Just works with Instagram, but I'm wondering are the same hashtags commonly used on other platforms like Twitter and TikTok. So yeah, so very, very often the, the same hashtags can be used on those platforms. The only thing is we don't have sort of any of the, we don't provide any of the metrics for those platforms that we do for Instagram at this point in time.
But what we are doing is we are expanding to other platforms. So. This week on the scheduling side of things, because we will also offer the ability to plan and schedule your content ahead of time on flick. We'll be launching Facebook and the, the Facebook scheduler. So you'll be able to plan not only to Instagram, but also Facebook.
And we'll also be launching TikTok in around four weeks time. So as we expand to other platforms we will also. Bring those platforms to our hashtag and analytics products as well. All right. This is exciting stuff here. Okay. Let's talk about growth. You guys went from like three employees to like 23 now, something like that.
And I'm wondering, like, what was the one hire that you guys brought on that was really instrumental for the company? Yeah. Who was that person? What were they doing? What they do. Just a bit of context on this over the last 12 months. I think we, we went from sort of nine to nine highs to 23. So, so we, we we've hired a lot over the last 12 months, we sort of made the, we were running this very much as a lifestyle business, and then we decided, no, let let's scale this and take.
And, and sort of grasped the opportunity in front of us that happened around a year ago. So I definitely think all the hires we've made because we're bootstrap, I've had to be really, really good hires. And, and obviously we've made mistakes along the way, but but I think the, the one hire for me that has had the most impact is the first.
Product manager we brought in. So his, his name is Dom. And the reason he's had the most impact is because there's a couple reasons. One I used, I still do, but I was fully, basically involved in product management before, beforehand, which basically meant. 90% of my time was, was figuring out and working as a product manager.
And 10% of my time was actually working as a founder and, and, and, and, you know, thinking a bit more about on the business things and how we can push the business forward from a strategic standpoint. And since he's come in, I've had a lot more time to, to, to work on that, which has been amazing. And the other thing, the, the, the other element is he was the first person we brought in that had him and, and, and one of our engineers actually Carll was the.
They were the first two people we brought in that had extensive experience in businesses with three founders who have never worked at a, at a different company. And our first hires were also very young or either, either in their early twenties or This was sort of their first job in a SAS business, but these two hires were sort of the first people who had extensive experience.
And what that allowed us to do is to really accelerate our learnings. And as founders, we were so happy to be able to sort of see all of our internal processes and, and the way we think of things evolve so quickly since bring them in, just because obviously we were trying to, we were doing our best with what we knew, and it was, it was a very, very steep learning curve.
And since they've come. They've sort of been able to validate some of the things we thought or disprove other things we were doing and we thought were good. And they've, they've sort of driven the business forward massively. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. And let's talk about user feedback because I, I think that you were a responsible at one time for getting some feedback from customers here.
Did you have a process or what was your how did you go about doing this? Yeah, so we, we get feedback at a few stages, so. The first stage we get feedback at is really where we, we just in the problem discovery phase, we're trying to understand sort of a user's problems in a particular sort of maybe area of the product.
And we'll jump on a, on user calls to do that, or, and collect data from obviously our product analytics, but also customer support and the tickets coming in, then we'll, we'll the next time we sort of look for feedback from users is, is when we have our first initial wire frames. And then from that point, onwards users are really tied into what we'll usually separate out a group of, you know, 10 to 20 users.
And, and especially when we're working on bigger products and throughout the life cycle of us developing that product, they'll be involved at different stages giving us, giving us feedback as we go. So, yeah. Okay. Okay. You know, I, I, there's been times where I've accidentally sent like an email to the wrong list.
Yeah. And I've had to like, oh, I've got, you know, people that are responding and I've added more confusion than I was intended to. Have you ever had any mistakes that you've made since yeah. Atard yeah, I think it was I think it was in 2020. We were about to, we were on the final stages of testing really our product that a lot of people were, were waiting for, which was being able to actually tell users which hashtags were performing well on the analytics side of things.
And it was gonna be a very popular product. And I meant to send an email obviously to that tester group, which was. I think it was 50 people. So, and I ended up sending it to our whole, our whole whole email database. So what happened is over the next hour, I got flooded with notifications from cat Lee telling me that someone else had booked a call.
And I think I had over 300 calls booked for the next sort of six weeks ly. And I had to email each of those people, apologetically telling I'm sorry. Didn't mean to do that. Unfortunately, I can't, I can't fulfill this call because that would've been six weeks of. Probably like 10 to 15 calls a day back to back around, around the same area of the product.
So, so yeah, that was that, that was definitely I don't think I've done that since luckily. Yeah. yeah. Now you take an extra second to just review the details of the the eval campaign and look. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. How did you break that news to your colleagues and let them know like, Hey, I think I made a error here.
What, how did that conversation. I think it, I think, you know, it was just, we, you had to laugh about it to be honest because it, it, I mean, no damage was done. Luckily, no, I don't think any of our users were, were feeling too, too hurt about it, but I think, I think it's just something that we laughed. We laughed about when, when I told them I just, Hey, Hey, by the way, guys, I may have emailed 50,000 people.
Sorry about that. And yeah, we just laughed about it and and rectified on the steak and made sure it didn't happen. Really, so, yeah. okay. I guess it, that's a good story to tell like new hires, like, Hey, you know, everybody, we have, you know, sometimes we have phone experiments and we have little mess up, you know, here's a good example for sure.
You know, Lloyd here. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Okay. Yeah, that was good. Just gonna say, like, it's definitely important. So no, one's scared of failing. I mean, this is slightly different. It's it's not like we were running an experiment and the experiment failed or we didn't, it didn't increase, increase conversions.
It was just me being absolutely silly and and just messing up. But you know, it, it was at the end of the world and how we we've definitely moved past it. okay. Okay. So just to clarify, cuz I think you said I wanted to ask, you know, what's the vision for, for flick in the next couple years, but it looks like a roadmap.
TikTok is coming down the pipeline. Did I hear that? Correct? In about four. Yeah, that's right. So, so essentially what we, in terms of where we've gone from the company, we, we were an agency and then we were very much an Instagram hashtag tool or finder. Now we're an Instagram management platform where you can do pretty much everything you need to do on, on, on Instagram.
And the next stage for us is really just to be an all in one social media management platform. So that means being able to have analytics for all the major social media platforms, scheduling for the major social media platform. A social inbox to, to take care of all of the DMS or comments that are coming in from all these different platforms and just to be able to manage your whole brand on social media, within flick.
And that's what we'll be focusing on for the next, the roadmap really for the next 18 months or so is gonna be focused around that and allowing more teams to work on flick efficiently, essentially. Cool. All right now for some quirky question, just so the audience can kind of know your personality a little bit Lu.
Okay. First question for you is what celebrity did you have a crush on as a teacher? It could be an actress or An athlete. Oh man. Yeah, I think, I think I has to be Shakira, I think definitely Shakira. I still, I still don't understand how Gerald PK decided to cheat on her, but but yeah, no, it has to be Shakira.
Absolutely. . Hey, I didn't, I didn't know that I didn't even know she was married or, or whatever. Anyway. Yeah. I'm a big fan of her too. I think she had a big crush on Rafa nada. That's my assumption. Do, do you remember they created that? I, I don't, but, but it doesn't surprise me that, that Al's a very good looking very good looking guy.
Well, Yeah, and the guy, the guy's still wedding, but cool. Shada. All right. Next question for you. What is a funny reason why you and your co-founders would go seek or ask for a hundred million additional investment for flight? A funny reason why you guys would go seek an additional 100 million investment.
Who, what could we do with the a hundred million dollars? Just for the fun. I dunno, tuck turn. You can ask SHA SHA. I can ask Shakira for ad campaign. Absolutely. You, we could pivot the business into real estate as well with that kind of money. There's a lot of things. There's a lot of things we could do, but yeah, no, that could be one I'll ask secure for, for an ad campaign.
Hopefully I hope it's not quite a hundred million, but, but, but I'm sure it'll be at least a few okay. Last question for you. What is a funny phobia or fear that you have a funny, a funny phobia fear. Yeah, I think so. A lot of people, when they swim in the ocean, they have a fear of sort of the depths of whatever could come up to the depths.
For some reason, when I was a kid or even as a teenager, I had that phobia, but in the swimming pool. So it was like what could come up from underneath in swimming pool, which makes absolutely easier sense because obviously it's a swimming pool, but but yeah, I don't know. I dunno why that was a, that was a.
Photo of depths in the swing. Okay. All right. Look, where can people learn more about you? So where can people live the best place to be honest, surprisingly, I'm not too active on social. I think I think I now manage or help people manage their social than for me that was like, okay, that's work. My I'm.
Socials is like, not something I do too much, but, but I think on LinkedIn's probably the best place to, to, if you wanna reach out to me or, or, or if you, if you wanna reach out by email as well, which is email@example.com. So that's O IC ATFL tech. Those will be the two, two places to, to find me. Yeah, I'll include your LinkedIn profile in the show notes, everybody listening.
This is Lloyd leaks brown from flick. Check it out. I think it's a very smart way to, to scale and grow your audience, reach using hashtags if you're not doing so already, like I haven't been, but I'm gonna start doing that right now. Lloyd. Thanks for being on the show. Everybody tuning in. Thank you for the finite episode for our season, three of innovators can laugh and tune in next season as we will be focusing on France.
That's right. Specifically French startups lo you're half French. So you could have been in, I could have, right, right. I should have, I should have just you could have, but then you're in England. So I'd like to focus on entrepreneurs in a specific country, but you could have. All right, Lloyd. Thanks for being on this show.
Have a great gift and guarantee too. A great conversation with. Flick is sort of a unicorn success story, not in the sense of an evaluation, but the product and demand for the product itself. The few things I enjoyed learning from this chat with Lloyd were if you're a creator and just spent a little bit of time looking at your aggregated analytics, this one form, your content strategy, and that will make the time be spent on your content more and more valuable.
Second hashtags are like SEO. If you're just starting out, it's unlikely. You will rate for popular hashtag. But you have a chance at competing and gaining more reach by using some other hashtags. You may not be considering. All right. So this is the final episode of season three. I like to end it with the testimonial I received from a listener love the way Eric is going about finding fresh faces of European, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
This is a great podcast for anyone who wants to understand how winding the path. For successful innovation can be. And especially for young people who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship and feel they don't have a lot of support or a clear roadmap, the cultural aspect is relevant, but the content is universally viable.
Wow. Thanks. Georgeta for a wonderful testimonial. If you like to share your testimonial on one of the shows, please gimme a review on apple podcast. You can also gimme a star rating on Spotify. If you listen. As our always thanks for listening. Keep posting something out there. This is Eric signing off.
Thanks for listening to the show. If you enjoyed it, I'd really appreciate it. If you could give us a review and star rating, also, don't forget to sign up for the ICO firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can get the bio and details of each guest. Thanks.